Two rounds of qualifying are in the books, rain is in the forecast, and drag racing superstar John Force could be watching his daughter's first professional race Sunday as nothing more than a fan.
Force, a 14-time champion, still has not qualified his Ford Mustang funny car for the 16-car field that will make up the 47th annual CarQuest Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
The U.S. Weather Service reports there is a 70% chance of rain today, which threatens the final two rounds of qualifying. If the sessions, scheduled for noon and 3 p.m., are rained out, Force won't have another chance to get into Sunday's finals.
There's plenty at stake, for posterity and the championship. Force, with 122 victories, could miss the field for the first time since the second race at Pomona in 1987, a span of 392 consecutive events.
Coincidentally, it could happen at the event in which his daughter, Ashley, makes her professional debut. She dropped from sixth to 12th after failing to improve her time Friday.
"I only guaranteed one Force would make the show," Force said. "For some reason, it's dropping cylinders every run.
"If I was ever not going to get a start, ever not going to make it, with my kid starting, this would be the day. I want to make it clear, I challenged Kenny Bernstein, if it rains, to a footrace on Sunday morning."
Bernstein, 60, driving a funny car for the first time since 1989, also hasn't qualified.
Force's best time was 5.085 seconds on Thursday. Jeff Arend sits 16th at 4.849 seconds.
It wasn't all bad for Team Force, though. Robert Hight remained the No. 1 qualifier with his Thursday time, and Eric Medlen moved from seventh to fifth with a run of 4.744 at 325.22 mph.
Don Schumacher's Dodge Chargers, driven by Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps, are second and third.
Force could find himself in a hole for this year's championship, at least 41 points behind the top eight finishers of the event. After 17 events, the top eight advance to the NHRA's playoffs for the final six events.
Force could overcome the deficit, but his margin for error would be smaller.
In top-fuel qualifying, three-time defending champion Tony Schumacher moved from fourth to first, bumping Brandon Bernstein with a run of 4.483 seconds at 328.30 mph. Doug Kalitta dropped to third.